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Ojo: London Irish have turned a corner

London Irish winger Topsy Ojo insists the momentum has finally swung the way of the Exiles, after two Aviva Premiership Rugby victories in the last three weeks.

Shane Geraghty’s last-gasp drop goal handed the Exiles a 28-26 win over Exeter Chiefs last weekend, after their Boxing Day success over London Welsh ended a six-game losing run in the league.

And ahead of crunch European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures against Grenoble and Rovigo, Ojo admits getting the winning feeling back was crucial to continue their progress in the competition.

“It was tough to be working so hard and just not quite getting the results, but the last couple of weeks the momentum has turned a little bit,” he said. “That will be important going into two massive European games for the club.

“Looking ahead as well we want to do well the second half of the season in Aviva Premiership Rugby and end it on a good note, so we’ve got to keep the little bit of momentum we’ve built up going.

“We’ve simplified things a bit more on the pitch, and just been focusing on getting back to our strengths, which is to move the ball with speed and at tempo.

“That style of play suits the players in this squad, and I think we sorted it out against Exeter on Sunday and hopefully that is something we can carry through the rest of the season.

“I think to win that game in the manner that we did will have huge dividends for us in terms of giving us confidence in close games throughout the rest of the season.

“Hopefully that can be a springboard for the next couple of weeks, as Europe is pretty huge now. We’ve set ourselves up well in the group and getting to the quarter-finals is a big carrot for us.”

It has been a busy week for the club, as London Irish announced Tom Coventry as their new head coach from the beginning of the 2015/15 Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

The Kiwi head coach of Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs will replace Brian Smith, who has returned to Australia for family reasons, with forwards coach Glenn Delaney taking charge in the interim.

Ojo added: “We have to move on, as these things happen in rugby sometimes. But of course I sent Brian a message wishing him all the best and hopefully we will be able to catch up in the future.

“He’s coached me for many years here and we got on very well, but I think with Glenn taking up the reins it will be fairly seamless as all the guys know him so well.

“Hopefully there will be minimal disruption as we have massive games to focus on the next two weeks, and it made perfect sense among all the players to appoint Glenn and we have welcomed the decision.

“Then Tom Coventry coming from next season is great news for the club. I’ve watched a lot of Super Rugby and he’s going to bring a lot of ideas and winning experience so I already can’t wait to catch up with him in pre-season.”

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